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Gaining Christ - Extracted From "Jottings"

Those who would gain the heights of honour must first descend into the valley of humiliation. The knowledge of Christ teaches us to have a lowly mind. "Learn of Me," said the Lord to His disciples, "for I am meek and lowly in heart." Meekness and lowliness are characteristics of the divine nature. "That I may know Him," said Paul, "and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed unto His death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:10,11). Resurrection is only possible where there has first of all been death. It is impossible to live daily a life in resurrection power if we refuse to die daily. It will be noticed here that Paul wished to know Christ's sufferings, Christ's death, and Christ's resurrection. It was not a death without suffering he wished to know; Christ's death was one of suffering, and he sought to know, after such a death, the power of Christ's resurrection. Thus the apostle anticipated rising higher and yet higher each time he passed through the experience of death and resurrection.

Young men, full of the impetuosity of youth and ambition to push their way upward, should seek to learn such fundamental principles of the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ-the need to descend if they would ascend. God's work can only be carried on by God's power. It is still as of old: "Not by might (an army), nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6). Neither by the strength of the unit, nor by the combined strength of the many, will God's will and work be done. It is done through the quickening and empowering operation of God's Holy Spirit upon such vessels as He wills to use:

vessels that are raised and filled with spiritual power, such as know "the power of His resurrection."

The apostle Paul was never satisfied with past attainment in his apprehension of the will of God for him. In the exhilarating liveliness produced by the clear mountain air of faith and the quickening power of the Holy Spirit, he pressed on, ever rising higher and higher, apprehending, and yet seeking to apprehend, that for which he was apprehended by Christ Jesus.